TANTAU Enhances Wireless Net Platform

Austin, Texas-based TANTAU Software, a provider of software that allows businesses to offer secure wireless transaction capabilities, made news on several fronts last week. It released a new version of its Wireless Internet Platform, announced it had secured $40 million in financing and unveiled a reseller agreement with HP.

TANTAU's Wireless Internet Platform allows businesses to maintain a direct link to customers rather than use a service provider's proprietary portal. It enables the secure transfer of data between wireless devices and back-end applications and data sources. The platform supports protocols such as WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) 1.1, SMS (Short Message Service) and HTTP, and offers gateways for integration with back-end applications and data sources.

"Over the next few years, there will be more wireless devices accessing the Web than wired devices," John Sims, TANTAU's President and CEO, said in a statement. Sims added that the TANTAU platforms gives businesses room for market growth while still allowing them to offer personalized services to their mobile customers.

The new version of TANTAU's Wireless Internet Platform scales to supports tens of thousands of users concurrently. It also supports wireless communication with Palm PDAs (personal digital assistants). In addition, Version 2 allows businesses to send messages to end users via SMS and features content conversion, allowing businesses to transform dynamic content into the appropriate markup language, and profile management, allowing them to personalize content for their end users. Also new is an IBM Connectivity Gateway, for connecting wireless application to IBM back-end systems, and support for ODBC, a means of providing access to databases on Windows and UNIX platforms. The server-side JavaScript environment featured in the new release allows for rapid customization and building of components.

This new version of the Wireless Internet Platform is available now. Pricing is based on application type and usage. A trial package, including software and services, is available for $100,000.

TANTAU showed it is nabbing some heavy support in the industry by announcing a $40 million second round of private financing. Primary investors include Chase Capital Partners, General Motors Investment Management Corporation, HP, Nokia and the Texas Growth fund. Original investors Austin Ventures, Compaq and Techno Venture Management also participated in the funding. TANTAU said it will use the new funds to aggressively expand its brand, increase distribution and delivery capabilities directly and through partnerships, and introduce new product features and functions.

HP became not only an investor in TANTAU but also entered an agreement to co-market what it claimed was the first mobile e-services solution designed specifically for financial institutions, like stock exchanges, brokerages and banks. Under terms of the agreement, HP will integrate, sell, service and support solutions that combine TANTAU's wireless server platform with HP-UX and NT systems. TANTAU's wireless server is the engine for its Wireless Internet Platform. The HP/TANTAU solution has already been adopted by SEB, one of the largest financial services groups in the Nordic region of Europe.

TANTAU holds a strong position in the European marketplace, where mobile devices and applications have been more widely accepted than in the U.S. But the demand for wireless devices and mobile e-commerce applications is expected to grow dramatically in other parts of the world. For that reason, TANTAU is moving to expand its market share in the Americas and Asia—more than 40 percent of its trials are taking place with customers in these markets.